New Delhi

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continues to be the favourite among corporate donors, getting Rs 290 crore of the Rs 325.27 crore donated to 10 political parties through electoral trusts in 2016-17, a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said Monday.

The BJP cornered 89.22% of the donations while the remaining nine, including the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and Samajwadi Party, got Rs 35.05 crore, the Delhi-based non-profit pushing for polls reforms said.

Electoral trusts are non-profit companies created for receiving contributions for political parties from corporates and individuals. They are required to make annual declarations to the Election Commission.

For its report, the ADR scrutinised the details furnished by all the 21 electoral trusts registered with the Central Board of Direct Taxes.

Ever since it came power in 2014, the BJP has been the biggest recipient of corporate donations. In 2015-16, it received Rs 47.50 crore, or 90% of the money that was routed through Satya Electoral Trust and Samaj Electoral Trust.

The party, which is now in power in 19 states, received Rs 488.94 crore between 2012-13 and 2016-17. The donations dipped to Rs 46 crore in 2015-16 but picked again the next fiscal.

According to ADR, only 14 trusts shared information with the poll panel. Of these, only six said they received donations in 2016-17.

Of the six, Prudent Electoral Trust, earlier known as the Satya Electoral Trust, donated the most, giving away Rs 283.73 crore to six parties.

“Prudent electoral trust donated 88.90% or Rs 252.22 crore to BJP, while Janta Nirvachak Electoral Trust donated 100% or Rs 25 crore of its total income to BJP,” the report said.

DLF with Rs 28 crore and UPL Limited and JSW Energy with Rs 25 crore each were the biggest corporate donors. They donations were made through Prudent Trust.

There were only two individual donors. Kotak Mahindra Finance promoter Suresh Kotak gifted Rs 18 crore while Max group founder Analjit Singh donated Rs 1 crore.

“Three electoral trusts made contributions to only one political party each which includes BJP, AITC and INC,” says the report.

The report also says since the details of donors to the six trusts remain unknown, there was no way of finding out if the donations were “a means of getting tax exemption or a way to convert black money stashed in tax havens to white money in India”. 

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